A vacation of many firsts- the first time I set foot on a plane, the first time I drenched my feet in the waters of the sea, the first time I got a whiff of the fragrant orchids, the first time I took a vacation with the husband. Yes, this is where we honeymooned but even if you’re not honeymooning, Sri Lanka offers more than a handful of reasons to gather coveted memories. If I’m being honest, at that point in time I wasn’t sure what to expect and admittedly, the last thing on my mind, what with all the wedding hoopla & everything but, I was blown away. All credits to the husband because he had it all chalked out so perfectly.Here’s a succinct version of our 6 day holiday….
As we lugged our suitcases out the airport in Colombo after my first flight experience (which was a breeze), our trusted chauffeur, Indica drove us to our resort in Kandy.
I obviously couldn’t make much of the place since it was close to midnight when we got there but the morning sun gave us a clear view from our massive room with tall ceilings and rosewood like vintage furniture. Out the balcony I could see the misty air and peeking through it were the pool, flowers, greens and the breakfast lounge. It was also the first time we were entailed to a 5 star breakfast with continental & local cuisines. The dessert freak in me went a little overboard but that’s what holidays are for.
Entertainment in Kandy included – watching a traditional Kandy dance, a visit to the Botanical garden( where they had an Orchid Garden), and me trying on a Sri Lankan sari drape, courtesy of a very kind staffer from the hotel. Special mention to the tea factory visit which was where I fell head over heels in love with black tea. For someone who thought the only drink capable of imparting a streak of freshness from hot drowsy afternoons was chai, this was more than just a teachable moment. It’s the reason I dedicate a nice, big metallic box at home to store the uncountable varieties of black tea flavours and also why I make it a point to scour for Dilmah in tea aisles of new grocery stores ( and also why I follow them on Facebook!).
A few hours drive from Kandy took us to The Taj, in Bentota. From misty mornings, warm sweaters & chilly hill estates we found ourselves amidst the sun, sand & sea. We made sand castles, lazed in the pool bar and tucked in South Indian Masala Dosas for breakfast ( the Taj had hotel management interns from India, making us feel very much at home)
I used to be a “beach- virgin” at that point. Gazing at the gushing waves and thrusting my feet against the soaked sand to make footprints were quickly followed by a frisson of excitement as the waters hugged me. Not to forget long walks watching the sun set as He made the sky blush. I don’t intend to sound cliched but never had I felt time stop the way it did here.
After all the inertia & relaxation, we stopped at the Taj, Columbo for a night. What I distinctly remember is our visit to ODEL, a popular souvenir store. The funny thing is, at the time, I didn’t think to buy a souvenir, not even something as obvious as a magnet. 5 years later I observed the sides of our refrigerator, serving as a wall for 52 magnets aka a happy reminder of our wanderlusting, missing it’s 53rd. Coincidentally, a student of mine was visiting Sri Lanka then & I promptly requested her to visit this store and bring me back something. She was so kind as to return with a beautiful 5 ” white elephant decorated in a pretty magenta caparison & topaz colored stones and a little keychain with a map of Sri Lanka. No magnet( that’s on me because I wasn’t specific) but I was happy to own a keepsake nevertheless. It so happened that the elephant’s tusk broke off a few days later and well, the keychain ring fell off too. So, ultimately we still don’t have a souvenir from Sri Lanka. My optimistic side beckons me to think that maybe, just maybe, the universe wants us to go pick it up ourselves. Not a bad idea, isn’t it?
I’m sure Sri Lanka has so much more to offer in terms of culture, food, nature & diversity that I’m eager to learn about…Hopefully another time.
Be sure to stop by my other blogs on food & art,
Divya’s Art Room